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Hot Off The Press! A Short Extract of Sentinel

A few days ago, I announced the publication of the long-awaited fourth book in Galaxii in eBook, paperback and hardcover format! Herewith, a short extract for your enjoyment!


A little sample of the book:

Commander Driscoll came back inside, wearing a sheepish grin. He stopped in front of her desk, waiting for her to look up from the desktop terminal as she typed a few short notes to herself. Next, she consulted the Munray’s crew and appointment manifest, and frowned, and then made another note. When she’d finished, she noticed the amused look on his craggy face and wordlessly pointed at a chair.
“Something on your mind, Exo?” She asked as he sat down. Driscoll grunted approvingly.
“I dunno what you said to him, but I’ve known Mr. Shaw a good few years now – an’ I’ve never seen him quite as upset as just now, Captain.” He grinned at her.
“Hot under the collar, is he?” Sonia asked coolly, allowing herself the hint of a smile.
“Ma’am, let’s just say he left a vapor-trail on his way out!” Driscoll grinned.

Sonia nodded approvingly.
“If you’d handled him like that before, right at the beginning, I doubt you’d have as many discipline or command and control issues on this ship.” She told him knowingly.
“Captain Polluk…” Driscoll explained, noting the look of disapproval cross Sonia’s face. “…didn’t like a taught ship.”
“No kidding.” Sonia agreed.
“Guess I better start taking notes!” Driscoll grinned again.
“Good idea.” Sonia encouraged. “Now, I’ve set Mr. Shaw right about a few things. The Captain runs this ship – and as of today that’s me – not someone called ‘Polluk’.”
Driscoll nodded, still reviewing the image of the bedraggled Chief Entech leaving a hot vapor-trail through the alcove.
“Is that clear to you as well?”
“Crystal, ma’am.”
“And when I’m not onboard, that’s you. Standard procedure will apply.”
“Got it. Just…”
“I’m curious, ma’am – just what the hell did you tell Shaw?”
“I gave him four days to get his act – and the engines – put back together … and to sum up, never to pull a stunt like that again.”
Driscoll beheld her with a look of awe on his face.
“What?” She continued, “You never thought of doing that yourself?”
“Er.” Driscoll paused, and blinked furiously for a moment. “I’m not the Captain, ma’am. And Polluk made it clear he didn’t want Mr. Shaw or his entechs interfered with…”
“Oh yes, I know all about the little scheme Polluk had going here.” Sonia said knowingly.
“Oh, you know – letting Shaw provide technical maintenance and repair issues as excuses to keep the ship over at port stops longer than was necessary – just so the crew had more time ashore than on patrol, just for starters.”
Driscoll gave her a puzzled, panic-stricken look.
“I’m sure you know all about it.” She intimated.
“Well, I had my suspicions.” Driscoll said softly, with a note of what she thought might be caution, but Sonia got the impression Driscoll knew exactly what she meant.
“Well, never mind about that, Commander.” She said. “It’s not going to happen that way anymore – not on my watch.”
“New broom, right Captain?” Driscoll remarked.
“Just so, Exo.”

“Tomorrow morning the rest of the crew arrives, Captain.” Driscoll reported. “As per your instructions to me earlier. Oh-eight-hundred sharp – er, minus one ensign… er, Miller?”
“Yes, I made an exception for her on humanitarian grounds, based on recommendations of the Doctor.”
“That’s very nice of you, ma’am, if you don’t mind my sayin’ so.” Driscoll said, looking as though he thought he was scoring points with the boss.
“Well, I don’t want the crew to hate me, Commander – at least not for the wrong reasons.” She said. “Anyway, tomorrow morning at 0830 I want to see them all, the whole crew, formed up on the hangar deck for morning roll call. It’s time to take this crew back to basics.”
“Yes ma’am.”
“And Exo, I want this ship ready to leave Tremaine in five days’ time – five days, not six, not seven, are we clear?”
“Clear, Captain.” Driscoll nodded. It was far easier, he realized, and less stressful to just go along with Captain La Belle than to argue.

The back cover blurb:

The starship I.S.S. Munray is a ship crewed by a lot of ill-disciplined misfits barely one step away from another court-martial – and the Captain’s the worst of the lot! When the opportunity presents itself for Vice-Admiral Beens to rid himself of the troublesome, malingering Wynne Polluk, he jumps at the chance to introduce a new broom, in the form of one Sonia La Belle.

In order to meet the deadline, she must deal with all the obstacles in her path; an old rundown ship whose engines lie disassembled, an uncooperative senior staff, and negative hopeless crewmembers who’d probably be more at home in the stockade than running a starship! The Munray and her crew resume their life of routine space patrol – which is soon interrupted when the ship is diverted to pursue a pair of dangerous fugitives who’ve escaped from a max-security facility – one that was supposed to be escape-proof! This turns out to be an exercise which will push ship and crew – and the Captain – to their limits!

Can they overcome all the obstacles they face, track down the Corsair fugitives, and do so in time to prevent the destruction of Earth?


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